Think Bigger than Design Thinking

“Design Thinking” seems to have become the tool of choice for “problem solving”. Great beginning, but problem solving is only one dimension of design. Just as making is another dimension of design. To continue isolating these parts of the system of design methodology is to miss the potential for the whole of what design can accomplish. It’s time to think bigger than that.

Most of our understanding of the critical issues we face comes from silos of expertise – from voices deep in complex, nuanced fields that are impenetrable to most people, and that often contradict each other, either by choice or by the ignorance of disconnection. This leads us to define systemic issues narrowly: Poverty is about money, women’s rights are about laws, health care is about access. Design is about thinking.

What is missing is a systemic view – a view that includes but transcends the silos, that makes relationships visible and information accessible, that creates not only the tools to change dynamics but the desire to engage with them.

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